Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Kids Nature Trail - Pariyat Lake Jabalpur

Catch Them Young

These are photographs of School Children Nature Trail  a program for conservation education and initiation into conservation by DFO Jabalpur Mr.H.S.Mohanta. Avidly involved with the programs Mr. Mohanta regularly organized nature trails for many schools. His efforts brought awareness of environment among many many school children and the teachers.      

I was part of many such nature trails and loved interacting with the children of all ages. This was my contribution if not much to create nature awareness among the children. This event took place in 2013 March. 

Bird watching was the main activity to initiate them into admiring nature and hence love and respect it. The DFO Office kindly provided the children with good quality binoculars. Refreshments were served at the end of the event.

Picturesque Pariyat Lake near Jabalpur is famous picnic spot harboring marsh crocodiles, wetland birds and wildlife in the surrounding forests.
Lecture

Lecture

Starting The Trail

Pariyat Lake

Bird Watching and Understanding Nature
 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Bandhavgarh Buffer Zone Tiger Safari in Pictures

Bandhavgarh Tigress

Buffer Zone Tiger Bandhavgarh



Cubs

Tiger Safari Bandhavgarh

Tiger Family

Tiger Walk

Yawning Tiger

Tiger on Walk
Tumbling Tigers

Tiger at Buffer Zone Bandhavgarh
Tiger Walk

Tiger on The Road    


                                                                                                                  

Three Buffer Zines have been created outside Bandhavgarh Core or Tourism Zone. Despite apprehension many tourists have started enjoying the buffer safari. The only negative aspect is appearance livestock and villages. Nevertheless dense pockets of forest in between makes the safari eventful with sightings of tiger, slot bear, panther deer and so on. he open patches should be a disappointment as one can come across animals like chinkara, wolf, hyena and nilgai which prefer these ecosystems.   

Of the three places chalked out for tourism Panchpedhi is more popular with high density of forests and thickets. This is at a distance of 20 from Tala is comfortable the zone is connected to Khitauli and Panpatha Zones/Ranges. The National Park has three tourism zones in Core Area namely:

Tala
Khitauli
Magdhi

The buffer zones are extension of the above mentioned zones.

In the tiger reserves gate entry fees for buffer zones have been reduced though jeep safari charges are equal to the core zone tourism.

*Photo Credit: Teerath Singh ..MP Tiger Safari Company

Bandhavgarh - Tiger Safari in the Buffer Zone

The buffer zones in the tiger reserves have been created for the protection of critical tiger habitats inside the core zone. Well they do just that but for how long. The sordid state of affairs in most of the reserves in India is denuding the remaining forests in the buffer zones. All natural lands are being consumed by burgeoning humanity and rabid urbanization. Perhaps tourism in buffer area would protect and result in preventing further denudation. I think all tracts of natural lands should be developed for tourism or some such purpose that would justify their existence.     

The biggest reason for sad plight of tigers in India have been the bounty killings during the British Rule. This was followed by rapid conversion of natural lands into agricultural fields. The third big reason was large scale culling (hunting) by the dignified lot during the British Rule and equally vehemently in the post British Era.

Most of the butchers are now dead not having contributed to India in any manner whatsoever and many have been the satraps of the British Empire making them rule this country with a handful sahibs.  

*Mention of British Rule has historical connotation and just that.  


Tiger By Teerath Singh


The Legacy 

The destruction of amount of natural land especially the forests has been appalling in the country. All that is left are small pockets with limited capabilities they are just larger than zoos.  The harbinger of rights are going to be the next big cause of demise of the striped hunter if an idiotic legislation is passed transacting our protected areas. I believe the forest rights bill could be it albeit I have not gone through. The status is so depleted that there is no room even for rectifying historical injustice as portrayed.      

Populist measures are an interplay of democracy... its the vote bank... we will have to teach tigers to vote.  Or lets vote on behalf of tigers for those who actually care for our environment holistically and preserve in practice.  

The Chinese threat looms large... I mean the medicine mongers here. Will we be able to save our tigers? Well the rise in numbers is encouraging but than euphoria dies down as it did during the Project Tiger period. The numbers of big cats is critically low and they need larger protected areas devoid of human settlements and totally inviolate. All the sanctuaries should be vacated with full compensation, well protected and ecosystems regenerated. This should happen in the field and not just on papers.      

Anyway opening up of buffer zone for tourism in Bandhavgarh and Kanha will open up this area. More people will be able to go for tiger safari.This will also mean greater attention to these neglected ecosystem  


A Kill in Making

Leopard Safari at Kanha National Park 

It was one of those days when you have a tough time deciphering calls. We were on a tiger safari in the Sarhi Zone whence we reached the Saunf Meadow. We had just crossed over the Siliyari Waterbody and were moving further. At the Saunf meadow we encountered frantic calls of the langur.   

The monkey was up on the tree facing towards the road to Sarhi. The calls continued for a very long time aided by other langurs now and them. But we could see and hear nothing...the alarm was strong and continuous.  We waited in expectation for a long time looked all over near and far but no big cat was in sight.

Normally frantic calls means a moving cat which also means a sure shot sighting. Well almost! The guide had lost all hope and urged us to proceed in order to maintain timings.

"We will return via this road while turning back", I said to the guide. "Worth investigating", he affirmed. So we continued through the magic landscape of  Sarhi Zone inundated by the mesmerizing Sulkum River. 

After and hour or so on the return we slowed down and searched. The calls had ceased, but anyway we were proceeding slowly since the area Saunf Meadow is often visited by the tigers. Two safari jeeps passed us nodding there head in disappointment which meant nothing exciting behind.     

It was going to be a dull day I thought as we continued.

Well not. "Stop," shouted the guide.

Move back he instructed the driver much to the amazement of my foreign guests staying at Courtyard House Kanha. For there sprawled on the rock was a full grown leopard in bright sunlight looking straight at us. WoW!

I looked back to see if the jeeps were still near us but they had sped away on their way. The leopard...shy predator? No way he sat on the rock sprawled like a cool cat. After some time he moved towards the ground and stretched.   

He then sat down majestically and looked at us menacingly disturbed perhaps by our presence at such close quarters. Then much to our surprise he began to move in the grass barely visible at times. It was amazing how the big cat could perfectly camouflage and easily loose itself  amidst the short crop grass. 
Leopard in Grass - Credit Teerath Singh

The game of hide and seek continued as the leopard moved towards a pair of spotted deer. Totally unaware of death at close quarter they continued to graze merrily on the edge of the jungle road. Another jeep had joined us with loads of  noisy holiday makers.

We are going to witness a rare hunt, a moment of our lifetime. Feeling highly excited we were barely able to contain our tongues. The brilliance of acrobatic grace of the creature had us totally mesmerized. Cameras clicking was all that made the sound. 

The graceful cat would crouch and then move forward excruciatingly slow. I could see the path it chose all the time kept it in hiding. What a drama I whispered to the guests.  

The hunt was perfectly on the leopard had crouched to about ten feet from the unaware deer.  And then! Woof!

From the other side of the road a noisy Bolera jeep belonging to the forest department came towards us approached the deer and manage to scare them away. The game was over. The abject disregard for what was happening was nothing new. With due respect for the conservation efforts many times the forest staff is disregardful and rude towards the tourists and totally unmindful of their activities.       

The vehicle sped past at good speed disturbing the hunt and a hungry leopard who vanished from the sight.  

Many times I think mannerism is important and the chauvinistic attitude towards tourism becomes evident in the tiger reserves. Proper behavioral code is as important for the tourists as it is for the departmental staff. I have noticed this lacuna on many occasions regarding the latter.  

Friday, June 12, 2015

Hari Lamba Bird Guide & Photographer

Hari Lamba scales the peaks of Himalaya Foothills in Uttaranchal and Nepal. Well he is not a  mountaineer but a bird guide and at top rung at that. In my birding tours in Northern India I got acquainted with Hari Lama as Indiafootprints Company had hired him. I work with Indiafootprints as a tour leader.  

Hari Lama's birding knowledge is astounding as far as Northern India is concerned and his Nepali accent and subtle humor keeps birders entertained on long and arduous mountain treks looking for the avian wonders. 

The bird guide also indulges in photography whenever he gets an opportunity. Here are some of his images for our readers. 
Cheer Pheasant 

Cheer Pheasant

Great Himalayan Kingfisher


Female Sunbird

Gharial at Chambal River Sanctuary

Green Munia

Gray Faced Woodpecker

Wild Elephants Corbett

Python

Koklas Pheasant


Naini Lake

Himalayan Bulbul

Pangot - Hari Lama with White Cap

Himalayan Foothills

Kainchi Dham Temple

Brown Fish Owl


Wedge Tailed Green Pigeon

Siberian Bushchat

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Wildlife Photography - Dr.John Mathai

Bengal Tiger

Dhole

Spotted Deer at Water

Jackal

Changeable Hawk Eagle

Paradise Flycatcher

Lesser Whistling Teal

Swamp Deer

Swamp Deer Male
   

Dr.John Mathai is an avid wildlife photographer he is enthusiastic at whatever he does. Time permitting he indulges in wildlife photography. As an amateur some of his stunning work is displayed here. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Dinesh Makhija - Wildlife Photography

Swamp Deer

Swamp Deer Herd

Swamp Deer Pair

Tiger in Water

Tiger By Night

Tiger Portrait

Barasingha
Barasingha Family

Bengal Tiger

Tiger

Gaur
 Enjoy the spectacular images of wilderness at Kanha. The photography by Dinesh Makhija requires not much words to describe the magnificent animals of Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh. Mr. Makhija own a budget lodge near the game park at Khatia Gate.